Outreach holiday programs serve community

Published 7:51 pm Thursday, December 1, 2011

Outreach sees increase in service needs during holiday season
Recently, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry (TBOM) distributed more than 330 grocery cards to qualified families in need during the holiday season.

Angel Tree at Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries. Donors select an individual child from those on the tree and purchase one or more gifts for that child. (photo submittedby Jason L. Eller)

“It is hard to think about, but there are children and families in our community that simply need a compassionate hand during the holiday season or they would simply go without a turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas or a visit from Santa Claus,” said TBOM Executive Director Carol Newton. “We are grateful to our donors, volunteers and the community that support this effort. Without their help we would simply not be able to continue the program.”
Gift cards are purchased by TBOM from local grocery stores and are distributed by the organization to families in need of a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal.
“Eligibility is based on several factors including income, which all Outreach clients meet since they are at or below poverty level. This holiday season we are seeing an increase in the total number of families we serve. Between 20 and 30 families per month are new to Outreach, which provides a barometer of the impact that the economy has made on these families,” said Newton.
In addition to providing grocery cards, TBOM “Angel Trees” are being embraced by families, businesses, churches, individuals and others who are interested in purchasing a gift for a needy child.  The first name, gender and measurements are placed on a tree cut out of wood that is painted and decorated with paper angels that contain the first name, age, gender and measurements of a child.   Multiple angels can be adopted by those wishing to purchase a gift. Gifts are taken to the 4-H center where they will be arranged and distributed by volunteers.
“To date, more than 456 children have been qualified and are in the process of being adopted,” said Michelle Reedy, client services coordinator.
If you wish to “adopt” this Christmas, please call 828-894-2988 or visit TBOM.
– article submitted
by Jason L. Eller

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